Review: Science Fiction Short Story: "Walls of Acid" by Henry Hasse

@msiduri (5846)
United States
January 12, 2017 7:02am CST
As agents from Her Highness Empress Uldulla approach Braanol, the 5000-year-old entity awakens. He spends most of his time unconscious in a sort of suspended animation. The agents ask for a story on behalf of the empress; they want to know how the people of Diskra developed practical interplanetary spaceflight. Since Braanol was there, he can tell them. His report will be recorded and brought to Her Majesty. Braanol agrees. In the golden era of Emperor Palladin, lived the emperor’s deformed brother Thid who was given to science since it didn’t seem likely that the royal female eye would turn to him. He excelled at what he did. Perhaps too much. Those around him hesitated to tell the emperor, but he found out anyway. Before he could call Thid to account for his actions, Thid disappeared. They figured the soft-bodied evil desert Termans would take care of him, for who could survive the extreme temperatures? Years went by. The Termans began coming in from the desert to attack the cities. They were monsters, now standing four feet high when they had been hardly one. For years, the people had sought to eradicate the Termans. Now the Termans sought to eradicate them. And they just might do so. The only place to escape was another planet. This is a nice little adventure story with a sympathetic good guy and a clearly defined—if distant—bad guy. There is a surprise at the end, a nice little turn, but it’s predicated on the people of Diskra speaking a bit of Latin which made it all fall flat for me. Diskra has some nice imagery as well with a scarlet sea outside its capital. This was a nice story with a nice twist but an element that seriously damaged the old suspension of disbelief thing. Author Henry Hasse often worked in collaboration with other authors, most notably with Ray Bradbury on Bradbury’s first professional story, “Pendulum.” Hasse is also known for his “Tyme” series. His best known work is probably his novelette, “He Who Shrank.” This work is available from Project Gutenberg. _____ Title: “Walls of Acid” Author: Henry Hasse (1913-1977) First published: Fantasy Book July 1947 Source: ISFDB *An earlier version of this review appeared on another site which has since disappeared into the ether. The review has been updated and expanded for its inclusion in myLot.*
https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/28045
2 people like this
2 responses
@teamfreak16 (31948)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
12 Jan
I think I might have it figured out, but don't want to say anything in case I'm right and end up giving it away. Which means, of course, that I'm probably wrong.
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5846)
• United States
13 Jan
This one was kinda tough. The only thing that gave it away for me was (dangit) those years studying Latin.
1 person likes this
@JohnRoberts (34036)
• Los Angeles, California
12 Jan
Perhaps movie material. CGI Termans!
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5846)
• United States
12 Jan
...The audience would have to understand a Latin phrase other than Illegitimi non carborundum. And that's not even real Latin.
1 person likes this